Online Education Kit: 1995: Ban on Genetic Discrimination in Workplace

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


1995: Ban on Genetic Discrimination in Workplace

Illustration of figures of people with chromosomesThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission extended workplace protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act to cover discrimination based on genetic information.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Its purpose is to provide equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. In 1995, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), issued a modification on the definition of "disability". It stated that the ADA would protect individuals subjected to discrimination on the "basis of genetic information relating to illness, disease or other disorders". As an example, the guidance stated that a person with a genetic test showing a predisposition for colon cancer would be protected under the ADA if, based on the predisposition, an employer regards the person as having a disability and discriminates against him or her because of that perception.

More Information

EEOC Compliance Manual

Reference:

Rothenberg, K., Fuller, B., Rothstein, M., Duster, T., Ellis Kahn, M.J., Cunningham, R., Fine B. Genetic information and the workplace: legislative approaches and policy challenges. Science, 275:1755-7. 1997. [Full Text]

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Last Updated: May 9, 2013